Mangoes: The True Caribbean Currency


In “Mangoes: The True Caribbean Currency” (Caribbean Journal) Nigel Spence writes about the power and value of mangoes. But most important, he shares his recipe for “The Mango Tief Mojito.” Sounds delicious!

[. . .] Mangoes added value to your property. No self-respecting thief would tread on property devoid of mango trees. Your bicycle would not be touched, your car would not be broken into – why? Because the thief knew the prize lay in the juicy, ripe fruit on the tree. Once, my grandmother shouted at a would-be mango thief high up in her tree to get down and get off her property. The only response she got was “A who yu a call tief?” He was so intent on collecting this valuable currency, he was not phased in the least…that is until he was rushed by the dog. Suffice it to say though, he didn’t leave with mangoes that day. Then there was even the bandit that made a career of stealing the juicy fruits. He was approached by my mother as he was making a quick exit from the tree over the fence and my mother shouted, “who are you and what are you doing in my yard?” to which he responded, “me is di Mango Tief dat come every Tuesday, so stop gwaan like you don’t know mi.”

This valuable fruit played a very important role in our house too. Friends who dropped by unexpectedly were treated to a delicious blend of fruits, containing mangoes, syrup, oranges, limes and sometimes, cherries. This was my mother’s specialty. The frequency of these unexpected visits seemed to increase in my estimation and I had a sneaky feeling Mom’s mango drink had a lot to do with it. So, in keeping with with Mom’s tradition, I thought I would share with you, one of my special concoctions – you know, just in case of unexpected guests. However, this one is the “grown up” version and will guarantee a marked increase in frequency of those unexpected visitors to your home. Enjoy!


Mango Puree 2oz
Appleton White Rum 3.5oz
1 Lime cut into 8 pieces
12 Mint leaves
Club soda (or soda water) 3oz
Sugar cane stick, cut to the length and width of a pencil

In a mixing glass put mint leaves and lime pieces and using a muddler (long wooden shaft used to pulverize stuff); muddle the lime and mint leaves until they are well battered and bruised. Add rum, mango puree and ice to the top of glass, shake vigorously till very cold and all are incorporated. Pour into a high ball glass and top off with more ice and club soda.

Garnish with a sugar cane stick.


Mango Puree Recipe

Pulp from 1 large ripe Mango
1/4 cup Water
1/2 Cup granulated Sugar
Juice of 1 Lime

Put all ingredients in blender and puree till smooth. Can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for 1 month.

Nigel Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Nigel freelanced at the Television Food Network for three years where he worked with culinary luminaries such as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Chef Spence has appeared twice on Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he emerged the victor in cookoffs against the Food Network star and was featured on CBS when he appeared on Tony’s Table as well as ABC’s Neighborhood Eats, NBC’s The Today Show, Sirius’ Everyday Living with Martha Stewart and TVFN’s Chopped. The acclaimed and New York Times-reviewed Ripe Kitchen and Bar is Mr Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavour.

For full article, see

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